Wisconsin’s chance at a third straight Big Ten West Division title took a big blow on Saturday with a 31-17 loss at Northwestern.
The loss sent the Badgers to 5-3 on the season and 3-2 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats (5-3, 5-1) won their fourth straight as they stayed in first place in the Big Ten West by themselves.
Northwestern also received additional help when Iowa fell at Michigan State and Purdue lost at Michigan State.
The Badgers lost three fumbles, two by Jonathan Taylor and one by quarterback Jack Coan. The Wildcats turned those turnovers into 17 points.
Coan finished 20 of 31 for 158 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate start. He started for redshirt junior Alex Hornibrook, who suffered a concussion last week.
Jonathan Taylor, who entered the game as the nation’s leading rusher, was held to 46 yards on 11 carries. It ended a streak of seven straight 100-yard rushing games this season.
On the other side of the ball, Northwestern came into the game averaging just 78.1 yards per game on the ground, but rushed for 182 yards on 49 carries. The Wildcats Isaiah Bowser led the way with 117 yards on 34 carries.
On the injury front, the Badgers lost nose tackle Olive Sagapolu to an injury in the fourth quarter. Left tackle Cole Van Lanen suffered a left-leg injury. Both players didn’t return.
Up next for the Badgers, a home game this coming Saturday against Rutgers at Camp Randall Stadium.